Out and About: Sale history could set record

Hours add up. . . to years. (Flickr photo by Ömer Ünlü)

It is pretty likely that some apartments and townhouses have been on the market for even a longer time, but a 2,030-sf apartment that has vainly sought a buyer at least since 2005 certainly deserves notice.

Vacant and desperate for renovation, the classic six-room condo is on a low floor of a desirable full-service building on Central Park West in the low 60s.  There are direct park views from living room and logical master bedroom (where the sound of screeching bus brakes does not make for easy listening), formal dining room,  maid’s room, galley kitchen, two bedrooms and two and a half baths.  A structural column in the middle of a vast foyer makes that space pretty much unusable.

Here is the strange price history to date (BOM means back on the market; TOM, temporarily off the market; POM, permanently off the market; CC, common charges):

05/14/2012   RET Increase$1,551 to $1,893
05/09/2012   $3,785,000
  Price Drop
04/09/2012   $3,999,999   Price Drop
03/13/2012   $4,199,500
02/22/2012   $4,199,500   Price Increase
02/01/2012   TOM
01/24/2012   $4,195,000   Initial Price
10/29/2009   POM
07/31/2009   Exclusive Expired
05/01/2008   TOM
03/15/2008   $4,150,000   Price Drop
02/22/2008   CC Drop
12/11/2007   $4,250,000   Initial Price
06/12/2006   TOM
05/02/2006   $3,195,000   Price Drop
04/11/2006   $3,275,000   Price Drop
03/17/2006   $3,495,000   Initial Price
03/02/2006   TOM
02/03/2006   $3,375,000   Price Drop
01/18/2006   R.E. Tax Drop
01/18/2006   CC Increase
01/17/2006   $3,499,000   Price Drop
11/30/2005   $3,599,000   BOM
11/09/2005   TOM
09/09/2005   $3,750,000   Initial Price

Working backward, one can only wonder why two successive price drops of merely 5 percent would suddenly turn on buyers who have rejected the unit in droves since 2005.  If no price point was successful since 2005, then it is time to make a hard decision that takes into account the market’s rise and fall and movement toward recovery since then.

The $4.195 million price last January is close to the $4.25 million price in 2008 as the national housing market was sputtering.  Lehman Brothers collapsed September of that year, and the Manhattan market died.

Only if the seller and listing broker believe that we are back to pre-Lehman levels does the current price make any sense.  But the current price perhaps is finally getting there.

While it is true that super-luxury apartments have surged in popularity and price, this unit does not fit that mold by any stretch of the imagination.

Below are some of the other properties that are listed by various other brokers and that I have visited:

  • A duplex co-op with pleasant and spacious terrace between Broadway and West End Avenue in the mid 90s.  This two-bedroom, two-bath apartment has a puny but attractive open kitchen that falls short of high end, two wood-burning fireplaces and partially open southern exposures.  Unfortunately, entry is onto the floor with the bedrooms and both baths, and the pet-friendly 1890 building incorporates standard amenities plus a roof deck but no doorman.  The asking price of $1.36 million with monthly maintenance of $1,460 reflects what the sellers paid in 2007, rather than what I have believed the 1,150-sf unit could command today — yet it went under contract around Memorial Day.
  • On Riverside Drive in the high 70s, a rather basic one-bedroom co-op in 1964 pet-friendly building that has a laundry on every floor, doorman and garage.  With balcony and direct views of the Hudson, the modestly renovated apartment is otherwise rather basic.  The listing broker says that the balcony and views account for possibly $150,000 of the fantastical original offering price of $890,000 with maintenance per month of $1,392 — for one bedroom!  After a measly $20,000 reduction, the unit somehow found a buyer just a month ago.
  • In Morningside Heights west of Broadway, a dark and depressing one-bedroom apartment with courtyard views, odd layout and down-at-the-heels kitchen.  There are three closets in the living room, none in the bedroom, which is off the galley kitchen and contains a bath that underscores the meaning of “en suite.”  The 650-sf apartment’s eccentricities suggest that it was carved out of a larger unit in the pet-friendly 1909 building, which has a doorman, bike storage and roof deck.  The asking price of $439,000 with monthly maintenance of $974 is on target.
  • An airy two-bedroom, two-bath co-op that shows exceptionally well after its relatively recent gut renovation.  With great closet space, an inviting eat-in kitchen with views of the Hudson River from the table, two very nice baths, split bedrooms, lovely floors and a gallery that draws visitors into the sunken living room to the views west over Riverside Park and the Hudson River to New Jersey beyond.  In a 1939 white-glove high-rise, the 1,600-sf corner apartnment boasts a washer/dryer, wine fridge, surround sound, oversize windows and through-wall air conditioning.  Its listing price of $2.2 million with maintenance of $2,472 is not beyond reason, so the unit deservedly went under contract at the end of April.  

Tomorrow: O Canada

To take your own bite out of the Big Apple, you have the option of searching all listed properties privately.

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Malcolm Carter
Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker
Senior Vice President
Charles Rutenberg Realty
127 E. 56th Street
New York, NY 10022

M: 347-886-0248
F: 347-438-3201

Web site

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